Three episodes in and I’m starting to enjoy the reboot of Gossip Girl. It took some time, but the show has started to gel and grab my attention.
The reboot picks up a decade after the original ended. We’re back at super rich Upper Eastside private school, Constance Billard, but things are different. The students run things and the teachers are at their mercy. A small group of the burdened teachers learn about the legendary Gossip Girl. The blog kept the kids in line back in the early 2000s because they were afraid of her exposing their secrets. That’s not exactly how I remember it, but ok. Kate (Tavi Gevinson), the faculty’s leader, prompts them to pick up where GG left off and take the school back.
Their main targets are the popular kids, led by Julien (JordanAlexander). She’s a gorgeous influencer with an army of Instagram followers. Julien is dating “I hate being rich” boy Obie (Eli Brown). Her power lesbian friend Monet (Savanah Lee Smith) handles her PR while icy Luna (Zion Moreno) styles her. Then there’s the school’s beloved couple, Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind) & Aki (Evan Mok), and pansexual bad boy Max (Thomas Doherty). Into this world comes sweet earnest Zoya (Whitney Peak), Julien’s half-sister. They shared a mother who cheated on Jules’ father with Zoya’s father, leading the two men to hate each other and keep their daughters apart. But the sisters found each other on social media and formed a secret bond. Jules engineered it so that Zoya and her dad left their modest home in Upstate NY for the glitz of NYC. GG posts stories on Instagram (blogs are out…ouch) about all of these goings-on, provoking anger and, yes, fear. So, the plan is working. For now. The fact that the viewers already know who’s behind GG is a plus, even better that it’s disgruntled teachers messing with their entitled students.
The pilot spent a lot of time establishing this new GG world without bringing much depth. It’s was just set up with clunky dialogue. It took two more episodes for showrunner Joshua Safran to get into a groove. Zoya is the most interesting multi-faceted character of the bunch. She even makes dopey Obie come to life when he dumps Julien for her. Max stands out, as well, with his wit and voracious sex drive. I only wish Julien and the rest were as compelling. Right now, they’re just pretty faces in amazing clothes. The Aubrey/Aki/Max triangle has potential, but Elite already did it better. Back to the positive, the diversity on the show should be recognized. The original was whiter than a bag of marshmallows, so it’s nice to see more color this time around. And we have queer teens that aren’t tragic stereotypes. They’re just living their (bitchy) lives. I think that as the show goes on the characters and stories will become more compelling, possibly living up to the legacy of OG GG.